The tablescaping trends to try at home
Tablescaping is the art form of beautifully arranging your table setting - for a dinner party, a wedding, and everything in between. Here's what you need to know
What is tablescaping?
As we shift away from stuff and towards experiences, tablescaping, which has been around for eons (it was popular back in the 18th century among aristocratic crowds), is having a major moment.
The Instagramification of anything and everything is definitely playing a role, as we show off our intimate dinners to hundreds, or even thousands, of followers. More than just a centrepiece, a tablescape is a mood, a way of dressing the table in a considered, stylish and personalised fashion. Some might even call the process - the opposite of our rushed, frenzied lives - effective self-care.
Often, tablescaping centres around a theme, whether that's rustic, monochrome or designed to reflect a celebration. Weddings, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter are all opportunities for some exciting table dressing to happen.
As home entertaining becomes ever more popular, creating an exciting - and inviting - environment for guests is what it's all about (it's also why we're all ordering those phenomenal-looking grazing platters for our dinner parties).
The current popularity of tablescaping means that Londoners can get the dinner setting of their dreams delivered. There's no shortage of inspiration for tablescapes to suit every style and price point online and you can even become a pro yourself by booking into a tablescaping workshop.
Photo: Alice Naylor-Leyland
Tablescaping inspo and everything you need to make a tablescape
No matter your theme or occasion, there are a few key ingredients that help to make a tablescape one to remember - and one that you enjoy creating.
This is one case where adopting a "more is more" approach can really pay off, but the basics for a decent tablescape include:
- Crockery and cutlery like plates, silverware, napkins and a tablecloth.
- Decorative extras: candles, glassware, bows, figurines, crackers at Christmas etc. You may even want to adorn your chairs.
- Flowers or branches (these can be real or dried).
- Food: the way you lay out your food can absolutely fit into your overall dressed-up dining table look.
- Something personal: adding a name card with an inspiring quote or scribbling a name on a leaf or Christmas cracker will give guests that extra-special feeling of being well-cared for by their hosts.
Pinterest and Instagram have plenty of gorgeous tablescapes to aspire to. Some of our faves that you should definitely check out?
Alice Naylor-Leyland, aka Mrs. Alice, is the stuff of tablescaping (and interiors, and fashion) dreams. The US Vogue contributor and homewares designer has launched a festive collection of Tablescapes in a Box, which you can purchase to recreate her dreamy dining table looks in your own home. Choose from The Jolly Nutcracker or The Winter Woodland Tablescape (each £280) for an amazing festive-winter table with maximum impact and minimum effort. Look out for new tablescape-in-a-box collections, which will be updated seasonally.
Serena Fresson: Obsessed with Alice Naylor-Leyland's table-setting style? Well, it's a family affair: her mum, Serena Fresson, is a "table laying enthusiast" with totally exquisite taste.
Photo: Fiona Leahy's tablescaping wonders for a Carolina Herrera party during New York Fashion Week. Photo: Leandro Justen
Fiona Leahy: Queen of events Fiona Leahy is all about the statement table setting (just check out her leopard-on-leopard tablescape - it's divine). You can buy her stylish tableware online and Londoners should keep their eyes peeled for her tablescaping workshops, which she runs from time to time at Liberty (book fast because they sell out instantly).
Tablescaping workshops, services and tips
It's not just homewares experts and designers who offer tablescaping workshops and courses - florists are in on the action, too.
Petersham Nurseries regularly hosts workshops on creating tablescapes or table centrepieces; in fact, there's one on December 21st which can teach you how to create a festive garland for your Christmas table, at Covent Garden.
Sage Flowers in Peckham, run by Iona and Romy, also offer occasional tablescaping workshops at London locations like The Hoxton. Learn how to use fresh, dyed and dried floral elements in your tablescape.
Iona's top tablescaping tips?
"Definitely mix fresh fruit and veg in with the floral displays to add an extra Dutch Masters-esque touch to it. Also lots of candles!" she tells us.
Photo: Social Studies' Doppio and Joshua Tree tablescapes in a box, photo: Ryan Slack
There are plenty of other brands to make note of if you'd like to up your table-setting game.
Those across the pond are lucky enough to benefit from an amazing new tablescape in a box service called Social Studies (think of it as Rent the Runway for dinnerware - Gwyneth Paltrow is a fan). Choose from a range of styles, from hygge to Mondrian-inspired, afternoon tea to dark and Gothic (they start at $30 a head). Entertaining has never been so easy, or looked so good.
Photo: Host x Ottoline
Lest you think getting your table looking this good is going to bankrupt you, Host Home is here to disprove that with affordable, eclectic pieces, and cool artist collaborations (see their new range with Dutch design house Ottoline and textile designer Helen Bullock). The brand's hand-painted bowls and dishes are mostly under £20, with glasses under £10.
Photo: Fiona Finds
Tablescaping is about curating your table, so unusual and humorous - yet still elegant - tableware can really help to set the mood (cabbage and leaf-shaped dishes and bowls and bamboo cutlery give this Fiona Finds setting a playful, nature-infused feel). Not only can you find unique, curated gifts for the home (and yourself) on the website, Fiona Finds on Insta is sure to provide constant inspiration. Like helping us to recognise how badly we need a lavender shaker in our lives, and how good it looks positioned stylishly atop a plate.